I wasn’t so surprised to receive the Friobar 500 range, although it’s been (exactly) 2 years since I reviewed any disposable vapes, just recently the world has gone crazy for these things.
It’s no surprise really, when you say ‘disposable vape‘, it makes you think of something from ‘back in the day‘ – 8 or more years ago before vape shops weren’t on every street corner.
However if we fast forward to the present day, vaping has come a long…long way.
We have better hardware and better e-liquids (or at least the corner shops have better juices).
When you put together the old throwaways with today’s coils, batteries and nic-salt e-liquids, you are capable of getting something amazing.
Before we get to looking at the Friobar 500, I would like to disclose, I received 10 Friobars (one of each flavour) and an information sheet about Friobar 500 devices.
The information sheet states that I have received [part] of the first batch, which are for testing purposes only.
It’s also nice to hear that Frio will use any feedback given in this review to improve their devices.
As always I will review them honestly without any biases…
Let’s do this!
What Can We Expect From The Friobar 500?
Friobar 500s are 104.3mm tall and 14.5mm wide, which is a pretty standard size.
They come in 10 different flavour, all of which are 2% (20mg) in TPD areas or 5% (50mg) outside of TPD areas.
The internal workings of each device are customised to better suit the flavour.
Friobar 500 have a 400mAh battery with a 3.6V constant voltage output system.
They are built with FM SaltCoilTech…
That basically means the coil inside the pod is made by FreeMax and it’s called a SaltCoilTech. Which is interesting because FreeMax certainly know how to make a good coil.
However the Friobar 500s are [apparently] the first ever disposable pod systems to use these coils.
The Friopods have another claim of being the first because they use Patented Tea Filter Cotton Formula.
Which Frio ensure me will provide ‘refreshing flavours from the first vape to the last“.
Inside the Box
I refuse to do a list for one item.
Friobar 500 comes in a clear tube which is covered with information.
Inside is your Friobar which has a sticker on the bottom and a silicone bung in the top to keep it safe and prevent it from firing.
- Size: 107 x 15.2 mm (although my caliper read 104.3 x 14.5mm)
- E-liquid Capacity: 2ml
- Total Puffs: About 500
- Nicotine: 2% (20mg)
- Material: Tea Fiber Cotton + PC + Stainless Steel
- Battery: 400mAh Built in
- Coil Resistance 1.4ohm
- Output Voltage: 3.6V constant
- Max Power: “about” 9.3W
Design & Build Quality
The Friobar 500 is a really sturdy devices.
The Friobar 500 Pods
The pod itself seems to be made out of a black tough plastic with a sticker around the majority of it.
It wasn’t until I peeled the sticker back the I realised the entire part underneath the sticker is a silver metal.
The overall shape of the pod is designed to look like a bullet.
Now this is something that could be seen as very controversial to a lot of vapers, especially us hobbyists.
It’s an article for another day but basically, vaping gets a lot of bad coverage from the media. With that in mind its wise for the community to ‘protect itself’ from the anti-vapers.
So it could be said that the bullet shape attracts the wrong kind of attention and depicts the wrong image.
That being said, I think it is very subtle and I didn’t really notice it at first. Forgetting what it is shaped like, I quite like the size and shape.
The sticker around the devices are usually 3 colours or 3 shades of the same colour, which represent the flavour.
This doesn’t apply to the Apple Pie which is black glass with bullet holes or the Peach Ice which has a brushed steel/aluminium effect.
On each sticker, going along the bar is the flavour of the pod and the “Friobar 500” logo, which is smaller than the flavour.
Friobar 500 Mouth Piece
Who’d have thought a bullet design would form such a great mouth piece.
The Friobar 500 disposables are 6mm at the very end gradually getting bigger until it gets to the size of the rest of the device (14.5mm).
I think they’re great. Until writing this part of the review, I hadn’t really thought about the mouth piece because they’re just there.
They make a perfect ‘one size fits all‘ shape and size if you ask me, the shape is round, if you hadn’t guessed already.
The LED Indicator
Inside the base of the Friobar 500s is a red LED indicator which shines through the airflow hole and lights up the bottom of the pod.
The light only lights up when you are drawing on the device, however when the device is done the LED then flashes.
The brightness of the light isn’t a torch, however it is sufficiently bright. Inside a lit room if you place your hand in front of the base, you can easy see the indicator shining on your hand.
The picture above doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s super hard to get a picture of it when it’s not in your mouth, I used one that had ran out to get this picture.
Friobar 500 Airflow
There is a hole at the bottom of the device which measures approximately 1.5mm. That is the airflow hole and I have to say I think it’s the perfect ‘one size fits all’.
Depending on what brand of cigarette you used to smoke, you might get a similar draw. It’s not a super restrictive draw but there is some Mouth To Lung restriction.
The device is also fully airtight, no air escapes the device form anywhere it shouldn’t.
I did try partially covering the bottom hole with my finger while I drew on the device and it does make the airflow more restrictive while allowing enough air through to fire the device.
However I wouldn’t advise doing this as it may result in the cotton burning which would ruin the entire thing.
Friobar 500 Quick Start Guide
In good disposable fashion there is no messing around to get started, it’s nice and simple.
- Remove the pod from it’s packaging tube
- Remove the silicone bung from the mouth piece
- Remove the sticker from the bottom
The bung inside the mouth piece is rounded and flush (to complete the bullet shape).
So if you’re a nail biter like me you might have to use your teeth or an object.
If you use your teeth (which I do not advise), be super careful you don’t choke on the little bit of silicone.
How Does the Friobar 500 Perform?
Sigh… I have to tell you, I feel really let down, in a way that I feel sorry for Frio.
The pods are awesome, they are well built put and they put out some amazing, smooth vapour and flavour.
However there’s a few things that have let the range down, so I’m going to go through them properly before we get onto the flavours.
Note: When you get to the flavours, I wrote them in the order that I tried them and I didn’t read the flavours descriptions (“what they say“) until after I’d finished writing the review, I added those bits in after.
The Dud – Auto-fire
I was on my second Pod (Lemon Tart) and I was setting up my equipment for a YouTube live as I set down I could hear a noise, a strange noise.
It sounded like the pitter patter of a moths wings when it’s stuck and frantically trying to get free, or maybe it was my laptop speakers that had developed a loose connection.
After a minute or so of moving my hear around I realised it was my Friobar 500, which has been in my hand the entire time.
The sequence of firing what a bit like a strobe light, on and off quite fast.
I took a few puffs on the pod in hopes that it would stop the auto fire and it didn’t.
After 5 or so minutes, the device was still auto-firing but now the device was starting to get hot.
I was concerned that if the battery got to hot it might explode, so in a rush to start the live show, I quickly pulled the pod apart (which wasn’t as easy as I expected) and cut the wires to the battery and wrapped the battery and wires with insolation tape to make sure it was safe.
This happened at 196 puffs in (including the few I had tried to stop it).
It only happened on that one device, to the best of my knowledge it had not been damaged in anyway including been dropped or wet.
Friobar 500 Continuous Flavour
I found that the pods had great flavour throughout, however I did notice on all of the pods if you took 5 or more consecutive puffs the flavour started to dip. If you then leave it for about a minute the flavour returns.
I’m not too fussed about this to be honest, as I said the flavour returns and all devices need a break to wick from time to time. But it’s something I noticed to I thought I’d mention it.
Friobar 500 Puff counter
Ever since my first disposable review I bought a click counter.
When the number of puffs is one of the main features of a device, how on earth or you supposed to review it if you don’t know how many puffs you had, right?
Now when you say to me it has 500 puffs I expect all the devices to be withing 10% of that range so anywhere between 450-550 puffs.
In my past experience disposables often give you a variation. Some will will you a little more than advertised some will give you a little less. Which I think is ideal because it evens itself out.
However this was a big let down for me. The average puff count of the 7 pods I counted (excluding the dud) was 278. All the pods gave out between 270 and 300 puffs.
Obviously it depends on your ‘puff size’ but my puffs on these devices were 2-3 seconds long, which I think is pretty average. To get 500 puffs, you’d have to do some pretty brief puffs.
I got a bit mathematical here, if the resistance (1.4ohm), voltage (3.6V) and Battery capacity (400mAh) on Frios specs is correct in order to get 500 puffs from that battery you have got to limit your puffs to 1.15seconds.
Each to their own on puff time, but I read some research online, and in experiments vape users had a average puff duration of 3.5seconds (using a 9w vape).
Mathematically that means the average vaper out of that test group would only get 164puffs!
Friobar 500 Vapour Production
The vapour production on all of the Friobar 500s, that I used, were perfect. Super smooth and about the same amount of vapour that you would get smoke from a cigarette.
Friobar 500 Pink Lemonade
Delicious And refreshing Pink Lemonade Flavour.
This was actually really shocking, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect… but it still surprised me.
The flavour is a really thick, very sweet pink lemonade…it’s great.
It has a slight menthol kick on the exhale but you can taste and literally feel the thickness of the flavour on your throat.
I say slight, and it is, however it’s enough to give me brain freeze if you puff on it too frequently.
Friobar 500 Lemon Tart
Sweet Lemon Drizzle Flavour.
I spent hours, a full night, trying to figure out how to describe this flavour.
When I gave my Mrs a try she said “ohh banana and is there something else?“. I can see where she is coming from because it is quite reminiscent of Cushman, which is a range from Nasty Juice where all the flavours have a banana base.
However, I finally came to the conclusion that it’s not too dissimilar to some Lemon Tart flavours I have had in the past.
And the reason I’m not keen on it, is because the Tart/pastry is too intense and the lemon is too sweet for my likening.
But each to there own, It’s a nice prominent flavour and I’m sure there will be some that love it, I do have to say it certainly grew on me.
Again its a super thick flavour.
This was the dud.
Friobar 500 Watermelon
Refreshing Juicy Watermelon Flavour.
I’ve always been an avid fruit lover, even as a kid I’d rather have fruit than sweets. Maybe that’s why I think this flavour is so awesome.
It is a sweet, prominent mouth watering watermelon nothing more nothing less.
However there is a very slight menthol hit that gives it that refreshing watermelon excellence.
How’s that for a sales pitch?
Friobar 500 Peach Ice
Juicy Sweet Peach Flavour with a cool kick on the exhale.
This is an interesting one. It certainly has a peach taste, however it’s less sweet and refreshing than the Friobar 500 flavours I’ve tried, so far.
Quite often with flavours we make things more like a sweet than the actual flavour, however this tastes more like an actual peach, it’s just missing the mouth watering sensation.
Also the menthol seems to be less than the previous flavours, which is interesting because it’s the only one (so far) with ‘ice’ in the name, however the menthol is there, especially on the way out.
Friobar 500 Passion Fruit
Authentic Fresh Passion Fruit.
This is exactly what it says ‘on the tin’.
It tastes like passion fruit, exactly how you’d expect it to.
It’s sweet and, fruity and fills the mouth and lines the throat – I like it.
Again there is only a slight menthol hit but it still gives me brain freeze if I have 5 or more consecutive puffs.
Friobar 500 Apple Pie
A Mixture of Sweet and Ripe Apple Flavor.
This is a strange one, its rather sweet. I actually think it takes like the apple sours, however it isn’t sour.
To start with the sweet apple flavour is the most flavour, each time you puff on it but after vaping on it for a short while (2-3 puffs) the other flavour comes through a little bit more.
On some puffs I taste apple and a glazed pastry and other puffs…
On the other puffs, I’m not sure what I taste to be honest.
I didn’t expect to like this flavour, apple pie isn’t a flavour I would usually choose. So I’m sure some people will like it, but for me I would rather it as just the apple.
It does have a slight fairly refreshing menthol kick to it.
Friobar 500 Banana Ice
Creamy Banana flavour with a strong cool kick on the exhale.
Again this flavour has Ice in the name but it doesn’t have the refreshing ice kick that some of the flavours without ice in their name have.
The flavour is nice though, it tastes a little bit like the foam banana sweets but much creamier.
If you like sweet banana flavours this one is pretty awesome!
Friobar 500 Mango Ice
Sweet Juicy Mango flavour with a cool kick on the exhale.
I am funny when it comes to mango flavours. Most of them are too sickly for me, however this one is right up my street.
It had a slight cooling at the back of throat and the flavour itself is a lovely sweet mango. It’s another of those really prominent thick flavours.
It’s not super refreshing but it is refreshing.
Friobar 500 Menthol
Smooth Crisp Menthol Flavour.
This is menthol. The end.
Seriously though, it is menthol and I don’t mean that in a bad way.
Far too often you get a menthol that isn’t menthol it’s mint and visa versa.
You don’t get that here, on my very first puff, my exact thought was “Wow that’s like a menthol cigarette“.
As you inhale you start to get that menthol hit spot right at the back of the throat. The menthol ice effect isn’t huge though, so if you’re looking for a throat freezer this probably isn’t for you.
At first I didn’t think it had a prominent mint flavour, however it wasn’t long before you got a chewing gum like spearmint taste at the back of your mouth.
Friobar 500 Blueberry Ice
Juicy Blueberry flavour with a cool kick on the exhale.
Blueberry Ice is a refreshing sweet blueberry flavour. At one point it did remind me of a blueberry slush drunk.
It’s prominent and a thick flavour like the rest.
- Great Flavours
- Good Smooth Vapour Production
- High Nicotine
- Easy To Use
- Unreliable Puff count
Final Review Verdict
I feel so bad for Frio, I don’t know why.
I suppose it’s because they’re awesome pods and it’s a bit unfortunate for them that I’m pedantic enough to puff count.
Although the bullet shape could be controversial, I like the physical pod. They’re durable, have awesome ‘one site fits all‘ airflow and they’re a decently portable size.
Furthermore, the vapour production was amazingly smooth and the flavours were so thick and prominent, while tasting great.
With 2 out of 3 boxes ticked, the Friobar 500 disposables failed on an epic scale at the final hurdle.
I mean, if you’re going to put a puff count of 500 in their name, you need them to get somewhere near.
Unfortunately, the average puff count of 278 is just 56% of the advertised puff count and I can’t ignore that.
It got even worse for me when I tried to figure out why and pretty much straight away figured out that the batteries were never big enough to give out as much power that was advertised, unless they’re being advertised to mice!
My opinion, they’re awesome! However they do not and can not get anywhere near 500 puffs unless you take really small puffs.
Frio, I sincerely hope you stick to your word about using this review to improve your products, because they are amazing. If you do, you know where I am!
Are you likely to want to try the Friobar 500 disposables?
Please let me know in the comments below.